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Life cycle assessment applied to wastewater treatment: State of the art

Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a technique to quantify the impacts associated with a product, service or process from cradle-to-grave perspective. Within the field of wastewater treatment (WWT) LCA was first applied in the 1990s. In the pursuit of more environmentally sustainable WWT, it is clear that LCA is a valuable tool to elucidate the broader environmental impacts of design and operation decisions. With growing interest from utilities, practitioners, and researchers in the use of LCA in WWT systems, it is important to make a review of what has been achieved and describe the challenges for the forthcoming years. This work presents a comprehensive review of 45 papers dealing with WWT and LCA. The analysis of the papers showed that within the constraints of the ISO standards, there is variability in the definition of the functional unit and the system boundaries, the selection of the impact assessment methodology and the procedure followed for interpreting the results. The need for stricter adherence to ISO methodological standards to ensure quality and transparency is made clear and emerging challenges for LCA applications in WWT are discussed, including: a paradigm shift from pollutant removal to resource recovery, the adaptation of LCA methodologies to new target compounds, the development of regional factors, the improvement of the data quality and the reduction of uncertainty. Finally, the need for better integration and communication with decision-makers is highlighted

The authors would like to thank the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (ENDERUS, CTM-2009-13018) and the European Union for FEDER funding. Lluís Corominas holds a Juan de la Cierva scholarship (jci-2009-05604) and was awarded the Marie Curie Career Integration Grant PCIG9-GA-2011- 293535. Almudena Hospido belongs to the Galician Competitive Research Group GRC2010/37 and she acknowledges the NOVEDAR_Consolider project (CSD2007-00055) funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science

© Water Research, 2013,vol. 47, núm. 15, p.5480-5492

Elsevier

Author: Corominas Tabares, Lluís
Foley, Jeff
Guest, J.S.
Hospido, Almudena
Larsen, H.F.
Morera Carbonell, Sadurní
Shaw, Andrew R.
Date: 2013 October 1
Abstract: Life cycle assessment (LCA) is a technique to quantify the impacts associated with a product, service or process from cradle-to-grave perspective. Within the field of wastewater treatment (WWT) LCA was first applied in the 1990s. In the pursuit of more environmentally sustainable WWT, it is clear that LCA is a valuable tool to elucidate the broader environmental impacts of design and operation decisions. With growing interest from utilities, practitioners, and researchers in the use of LCA in WWT systems, it is important to make a review of what has been achieved and describe the challenges for the forthcoming years. This work presents a comprehensive review of 45 papers dealing with WWT and LCA. The analysis of the papers showed that within the constraints of the ISO standards, there is variability in the definition of the functional unit and the system boundaries, the selection of the impact assessment methodology and the procedure followed for interpreting the results. The need for stricter adherence to ISO methodological standards to ensure quality and transparency is made clear and emerging challenges for LCA applications in WWT are discussed, including: a paradigm shift from pollutant removal to resource recovery, the adaptation of LCA methodologies to new target compounds, the development of regional factors, the improvement of the data quality and the reduction of uncertainty. Finally, the need for better integration and communication with decision-makers is highlighted
The authors would like to thank the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (ENDERUS, CTM-2009-13018) and the European Union for FEDER funding. Lluís Corominas holds a Juan de la Cierva scholarship (jci-2009-05604) and was awarded the Marie Curie Career Integration Grant PCIG9-GA-2011- 293535. Almudena Hospido belongs to the Galician Competitive Research Group GRC2010/37 and she acknowledges the NOVEDAR_Consolider project (CSD2007-00055) funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science
Format: application/pdf
Citation: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2013.06.049
ISSN: 0043-1354 (versió paper)
1879-2448 (versió electrònica)
Document access: http://hdl.handle.net/10256/14120
Language: eng
Publisher: Elsevier
Collection: MICINN/PN 2009-2012/CTM2009-13018
Reproducció digital del document publicat a: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2013.06.049
Articles publicats (D-EQATA)
info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/FP7/293535
Is part of: © Water Research, 2013,vol. 47, núm. 15, p.5480-5492
Rights: Tots els drets reservats
Subject: Aigües residuals -- Depuració
Sewage -- Purification
Title: Life cycle assessment applied to wastewater treatment: State of the art
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Repository: DUGiDocs

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